The healthcare industry is constantly changing, evolving, and challenging. It's not just about becoming a nurse, pharmacist, or physician assistant — it's about understanding the latest science in public health that can improve the health of people around the world.
Graduates with a public health background can find themselves in high demand by constantly creating and replacing positions. Hiring a public health graduate is lucrative for companies because they can understand how these agencies work and use their data in decision-making.
These graduates play an important role in the modernization of hospitals and other healthcare facilities through researching new technologies. They assist with clinical trial processes and data analysis, implementing evidence-based practices to prevent costly health care errors, and providing feedback regarding outbreak fears.
Here are some of the key roles in the healthcare that public health graduates will be perfect for:
Biostatistics is the application of statistical methods to health research. The biostatistician uses data analysis, statistical models, and mathematical techniques to understand the relationships between variables in a population. They can work alongside other professionals such as epidemiologists who collect primary data or physicians to help analyze medical records. These professionals are often involved in clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and surveillance programs for infectious diseases.
Do you have a knack for numbers, or are you interested in using your knowledge to help the public? Consider enrolling in Masters of Public Health and specializing in biostatistics. You can learn how to analyze data with an MPH to examine how environmental and behavioral factors affect living things. According to stats, a biostatistician with an MPH salary is around $77,600 as of May 2022.
Biostatisticians also conduct health surveys. They use the collected data to develop models describing specific populations' health behavior patterns. These models can identify high-risk individuals for disease prevention, evaluate interventions for improving health outcomes, or predict future health trends based on a given population.
Epidemiologists research the roots of diseases, infectious agents, and other factors contributing to population health problems. They also design studies to test hypotheses about disease transmission patterns among specific groups based on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, or race/ethnicity
An epidemiologist studies the causes and effects of disease on public health. They collect data from different sources (such as hospitals and clinics). Other professionals then use this data for them to formulate strategies for the prevention and treatment of diseases. Epidemiologists must know statistics and other fields such as biology or chemistry. They also must communicate well with people from different backgrounds and cultures throughout their career journey.
The outbreak of COVID-19 highlighted the importance of epidemiology and how it shaped public opinion, policies, and research on the pandemic.
3. Behavioral Scientist
The behavioral sciences are disciplines that include psychology, sociology, anthropology, and economics — all of which are related to public health.
The role of a behavioral scientist is a significant one in public health. They are experts at identifying human behavior and the factors that influence it. They study how people make decisions, why they make them, and what drives them to do so. They also assess the consequences of these decisions on individuals, families, communities, and societies. The primary focus of behavioral research is to identify ways to prevent disease or illness before they occur.
A behavioral scientist's skills include:
- Understanding human behavior
- Identifying the causes of behavior
- Empowering people to make better choices (e.g., about smoking)
- Helping people develop healthy habits (e.g., eating right)
Behavioral scientists work with other public health specialists to develop awareness campaigns on smoking, alcohol abuse, nutrition, and obesity. They also work together with physicians to improve access to quality healthcare services. They help develop policies on nutrition and physical activity programs to help individuals living in low-income communities.
The nutritionist plays a key role in public health. Nutritionists are experts in food and nutrition, health and disease, and the environment. They work with clients to develop and implement healthy eating plans, including calorie intake, food choices, and overall wellness. They also help people make better choices around what they eat by teaching them how to read food labels from restaurants or at home and encouraging their vitamin intake. The role of a nutritionist is critical for helping individuals stay healthy through diet and lifestyle changes and providing nutritional advice for those having problems such as diabetes or heart diseases.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics paints a very encouraging picture for a career in public health nutrition. The average annual salary of nutritionists and dieticians was $61,650 (May 2021), and employment may grow by 11% by 2030.
5. Policy making
Public health policy is a field of study that deals with government laws and policies and their implementation. It addresses issues such as developing and implementing public health policies, disease prevention, disease control, and public health education. The state governments or national governments usually set the policy related to public health, and each country has its policies.
Public health graduates work in various policy roles, including advising on laws that affect the health sector, such as healthcare law and medical law. These graduates also guide how to implement policies that will help improve the overall standard of care healthcare providers deliver. The following are some examples of public health policies:
- Food safety policy
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Sexual well-being
In recent years, the demand for public health graduates has increased substantially. The demanding nature of many community-based non-profit organizations, as well as the expanding scope of public health care in many communities, has made public health graduates an asset to the industry. Becoming a strategic player in this field means maximizing your experience with relevant degrees and hands-on training opportunities. After reviewing their respective roles, it is clear that the healthcare industry can greatly benefit from a public health graduate.